I am a mother. About 22 years ago, I gave birth to the world’s most perfect child. Which, of course, every mother probably thinks.
Only now she isn’t a child any more, she is an adult. A YOUNG adult, but an adult nonetheless. And probably not that young, come to think of it.
When I was 19, my parents died. I was thrust into the world on my own. By 22, I had gotten myself under control. I can’t say I was a hugely successful adult, but I was working on it. I don’t feel like my daughter is nearly as adult as I was. Maybe that’s my own nearsightedness. Maybe we always think too highly of ourselves.
My daughter has taken off on a road trip for a month. A month! Three girls and two dogs in a car with no money for a month. She is loving it. I am scared to death.
Okay, not scared to death but nervous as hell. What about phone or meds? Well those things are on me, actually. I said I would pay her phone for her so she has that security. Meds are more on her. There isn’t much I can do about that. She’s going to have to find a Kroger and come up with the money. I might have to pay by phone, I don’t know. I can’t help worrying.
What about the other people on the road? What if she has a fight with her travel companions or something happens to one of the dogs? Who will she meet, that might hurt her. She is going to Rainbow Gathering, where there will be drugs and alcohol, no doubt. She isn’t clean, she’ll try stuff. What if something goes wrong with the experiment?
And yet, this is exactly what’s supposed to happen. She’s supposed to grow up and build a life apart from me. Take the trip while she’s young and optimistic. Do the stupid things while there’s time to recover. Live! Live the life she dreams of, before reality sets in and she has to sell out to pay for the daily needs. How many of us work a job that doesn’t make us happy just to pay for rent and food?
I am supposed to let her go. Push her out of the nest and watch her fly away. I wonder if mother owls go through that. “Get out, get out, get out, no, don’t go!” Probably not. Nature doesn’t second guess itself.
So she goes and I chew my fingernails. I hope she never sees me do that. I want a strong brave adventurous girl, not a wimpy little person afraid to take a risk. I want her to fly strong and swift.
In about 25 years, I won’t be able to live alone any more. I’ll have to come home to her nest and wait out my days. Separation isn’t forever and the roles will reverse.
Until then, I watch her head out and miss her.